The Not Knowing

It’s very strange to know things about some of your kids so easily because you have been there since their beginning or since very near their beginning, but not know things about another of your children.  Awhile ago, we were in the waiting room at Gracelyn’s doctor’s office and there was a baby girl walking around and the other moms were marvelling at how she was walking so well at such a young age (she was only ten months old) and they all began to talk about what ages their children walked at.  I was about to chime in and say that Gracey had walked at eight months but one of my sons hadn’t until he was sixteen months but then remained silent because I had all three of my girls with me that day and I realized as I sat there listening to the conversation around me that I have no idea how old Sedaya was when she took her first steps.  On an intellectual level, I have always known that I don’t know this information about she or Elijah, but today some of the implications of that became more clear.

When they have their first child, there will be no discussion about how the baby looks so much like what they looked like as babies, no comparing baby pictures.  They will not be able to phone me with a developmental concern for their child and have me say, “well, you were a late talker so I wouldn’t worry about it”.  I am discovering that the more I get to know my amazing new children, the more I realize how much I have missed.  With them, I do not know if something they do is a quirk or a phase or a behaviour because I don’t know if it’s new or something they have always done.  With them, I do not know how they typically respond when they are scared or sick or excited.  I cannot answer the origin of Elijah’s scars or how Sedaya got the scar above her lip or the very noticeable one on her eyebrow.  I don’t know if a fever makes them throw up or if they get rashes from stress.  I don’t know if Elijah has always fallen asleep easily and quickly like he does now or if it is a response to stress.  I do not know how he survived having the measles and the chicken pox in a village in a developing country with his body already riddled with parasites or even how old he was when he got those illnesses.  I do not know what Sedaya’s first word was or how old Elijah was the first time he laughed.  I do not even know how they were born or truly even when they were born.

I do know that I wish I knew these things and so much more, and that there is some loss involved in the not knowing, for me and for them.

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